Friday, 16 November 2018

Sew A Row Project

My Own Version Revealed ...

And One For Project Linus!

In all the excitement of our Christmas / 20th Birthday celebration evening at Connecting Threads last night, I didn't get an opportunity to take a picture of the 20 or so quilts we had created in our group 'Sew a Row' project, before they were whisked off by a very happy and grateful Hertfordshire Co-ordinator for Project Linus. (I will post one taken by someone else when I can.) They were magnificent -  a sea of colour and all so different, detailed and imaginative!

We started this project in January, and it took 7 months to make our rows, swap them around the group and then assemble them into quilts before the 'Big Reveal'. 

Each month's row had a given theme; Houses, Trees, Animals, Vehicles, Boats, Beach and Stars. We could choose what ever style and method we liked, within certain size constraints and had to try to incorporate fabrics from previous rows and add some of our own. 
Then each month the bags were passed around (under wraps) for someone to add the next row, until finally we got back the one we started, to finish it all off.
I was so inspired by the concept that I decided to make this version of my own alongside it, but in my choice of fabrics. I must have been inspired to cut into some of my Edyta Sitar blues that were still in their cellophane! So each month I made the row for the exchange and duplicated it for my own quilt.

These were my trees for month 2 to be added to this brightly coloured houses. 

Here is my blue version. (See how I couldn't resist adding just a blush of pink here and there!)

My interpretation of the 'Animal' row were these 'Edyta' inspired birds on a vine. Inspiration struck me again (when I should really have been sleeping!) to use them as a border all round on my version. 

The row I found hardest to design was the 'Beach' row. Everyone else made incredibly imaginative beach scenes with all sorts of things going on. By contrast, my sea shells were very simple.

A row of 5 of these went into the quilt completed by Jean Smith.

I had to wait for my long arm machine to be serviced before I could quilt this one (as well as installing the Micro Handles). As you can see, I really gave her a run for her money!

I wasn't the only person to make 2 quilts, but I did feel a bit guilty for keeping one for myself!!
But if my colourful strippy scrap quilt doesn't sell in aid of NSPCC at their Christmas Craft Sale at Allum Hall in Borehamwood on Sunday 18th November (10.30 am to 3.30pm), I will donate that one  to Project Linus.

Project Linus UK is a volunteer organisation. They aim to provide a sense of security and comfort to sick and traumatised babies, children and teenagers through the provision of new home made patchwork quilts and knitted blankets, and give volunteers across the UK the opportunity to contribute to their local community. Visit their website for more details:

 Happy Quilting Everyone!
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Friday, 2 November 2018

Scrap Strip Spectacular!

Colourful enough? And that's just the back!

I've been so busy lately with projects of my own and quilting for all you talented ladies out there, that my first 'flimsy' of the year kept getting overlooked and pushed to the bottom of the pile. 

This was the 'quilt in a day' project that I designed for Studio Quilters in January. Using my stash of 5 inch strip squares (sewn over phonebook paper) and a number of plain black and white squares, everyone was given a row to assemble. Then we put them all together and produced this rather interesting top. 

Now I have finally got around to quilting it and pondered over what to use for the backing. Well I had so many of the strip squares left, I ended up piecing together another 144 to make probably my most colourful quilt ever! It was another chance to play with circles, but I think I was trying too hard. Whenever I got to a plain white or black square, where it really showed, I wobbled!! But it is such a busy quilt, (I estimate 1500 pieces front and back), hopefully no one will notice. 

I hope to have it bound in time for the NSPCC sale at Allum Hall which is only a couple of weeks away - where has this year gone?!

Happy Quilting Everyone!
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Monday, 22 October 2018

Bride's Bouquet

Remember When You Were Scared of 'Y' Seams?

This block has been the most fun yet. It is one I've wanted to make for simply ages. In fact since I bought the 'kite' ruler when I went to Duxford with Susan - how long ago was that ?! 

The ruler is by Marti Michell  ™ and comes with a booklet full of instructions and variations, which is almost more confusing than it is useful, as it refers to lots of other templates, rather than just giving sizes to cut.

But I worked it all out and it just went together beautifully. Those 'Y' seams don't faze me any more.

Now I have got 5 large blocks for my Laura Ashley project and a head full of ideas, which change from one day to the next.

No wonder I don't sleep!

Happy Quilting Everyone!
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Sunday, 21 October 2018

Partial Seam Puzzle

Hungry Hungry Caterpillar and Ganesh

Two interesting quilts this week -  both headed for long distance destinations. 

One printed panel with the ever popular Hungry Hungry Caterpillar, by Val for her daughter in Japan - The other appliquéd with a Ganesh inspired elephant (and a mouse) for Jenny's new niece in India.  

Both great fun to do. 

I like how the quilting showed up on the sateen backing fabric on Jenny's quilt.

Then I returned to my on-going Laura Ashley project. I found the ideal block to use up those spare little half square triangles - my first feathered star. I found this diagram as a guide and thought I could scale it to make a 12 inch block. But the maths didn't quite work - not my strong point!! Clearly the diamond point makes it wider than you think. (Or maybe I just can't add up!)

No foundation piecing for me though - you know how I dislike it! I was quite able to piece it accurately without and I would still have had to use partial seams. It was quite a puzzle to work out the piecing. 

It came out a bit bigger than I wanted - but that won't matter.

It is pink and pretty!

Happy Quilting Everyone!
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Tuesday, 16 October 2018

On Commission

Vintage Laura Ashley Pinks!

No - not this gorgeous teddy! This truly beautiful motif was painstakingly appliquéd to a calico bag, with hand embroidery and ribbon, lace and bead embellishments by our other Janet, to be sold (for next to nothing) at the NSPCC Christmas Fair in November.  I hope whoever buys it appreciates the skill and effort she put in to it! It rather puts my own simple contributions to shame - just some printed fabric cut out and machine stitched on - but Christmassy nonetheless.

But YES! Laura Ashley - I finally plucked up the resolve to cut some of it up! That said, I followed my natural compulsion to use the small bits first. Ann Kelner had given me the leftovers of this pink Sycamore print from her 'clover needle case' project that she prepared for us at Connecting Threads a while back. She could tell how much I coveted them - bless her heart!

So I started off by trimming these odd shapes, which were mostly on the bias, into usable pieces.

I whittled them down to this neat pile, wasting as little as possible.

So far I have made three different 12 inch blocks. 

This one, featuring the classic 'Kate' fabric, had several flying geese units in it and I salvaged all the little corners to make 30 one and a half inch half square triangles units to use later on. (The quilt design is a work in progress). 

Now I know I preach about the importance of sufficient contrast in blocks so that the patchwork design shows up. But with these fabrics, I just throw the rule book out of the window - it is all about the pastels!!
I have one strip of the Mary Ann fabric; Pink stripes with pink and sky blue flowers on it. I pondered over it for ages to see how I could use it without wasting any. In the end I simply couldn't bring myself to slice it up and decided to use it as a feature block just as it is.

 So what was the commission? 
Well, for the third time, I have gone to the Knitting & Stitching Show and encouraged a companion to buy a Brother machine like mine. Today I phoned 'Bob' from the exhibitors' stand and persuaded him to send me a replacement for a foot I've mislaid, as commission for helping them sell their machines!

Happy Quilting Everyone!
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Saturday, 6 October 2018

Totally Tilda!

Circles in My Mind

This beautiful Tilda designed top has been speaking to me ever since I picked it up from Meryl last week. Needless to say, she had pieced it perfectly and everything laid flat and square.

The sample in the book had a fairly basic all over stipple quilting, but I knew it deserved more than that. I spent quite a while stabilizing the whole piece with some ruler work around the blocks, and put some curls and curves into the 16 patches.

The stems and leaves were asking for formal feathers to climb all the way up.

Then I started to fill in the rest of the background.

 I have been studying the work of some quilters I admire and felt I needed to work on my freehand circles. So I covered the open spaces with a loose loopy meander, but slowed my pace right down so I had more control. It definitely worked better.

I left the birds until last because I wasn't sure what they needed. In the end I gave them very simple features.


Happy Quilting Everyone!
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Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Pink Quilts Make Me Happy!

Two in Two Days!

It was inevitable that once I started on these two quilts for Laura, I wouldn't be able to stop until they were finished. That is exactly what happened. 
They were just so pink!

The first one had been difficult for Laura to piece, as I mentioned before, but you would never notice. It is such a lovely design and fresh fabric choices. I went for a large scale motif to set off the large star blocks and was pleased how it seemed to swirl around them. 

And the 'pantograph' effect on the back was really satisfying. 

Last night, I loaded the second one and I have been at it non stop today. The layout was simpler and I used the straight rows as my guide for my smaller edge to edge motifs.

A different style of feathers on this one, 'bump bump' off a curl, linked by little flowers. This one looks busier on the back.

I might have a little break now and then I can start on Meryl's pretty top.
That's my pink fix for this week! 

Happy Quilting Everyone!
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